Moving is the worst! I was born and raised in the West Michigan area, but I've spent the last seven years moving across the Heartland and living in states like Nebraska and Missouri. Though I've only been home for a few months now, I find myself in a weird headspace: home still feels like home, but it's not quite exactly the same home I remember.

I spent a lot of time in Kalamazoo during my college partying days, but now that I'm back here as an adult I'm having to re-learn the city and I'm discovering it's not quite like I left it. It got me wondering, how would you explain Kalamazoo to someone who has never lived in Kalamazoo? What advice would you give to someone who has never lived here?

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One Reddit user, u/kingofshadow, recently moved to the area and has been struggling to settle in. The user flat out asked, "What did you wish you knew about Kalamazoo before you moved here?" Here are the biggest comments/concerns current residents shared:

Weekend/Night Life

When it comes time to have a night on the town, Kalamazoo residents aren't sure where to go. Sure we've got plenty of breweries, but it's not very easy to go bar-hopping in downtown Kalamazoo as everything is spread out across the city. U/AdvanceDry2521 said, "There is not much “weekend” life for anyone over college age...I came from a large city in the south with fun bars and such but mostly here it’s just breweries."

Google Maps
Google Maps
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Rental Housing

This is something I'm struggling with personally. It seems like my only options are either cheap rentals in the student ghetto or expensive high rises. One user adds, "People should be aware of the rental situation...if you aren’t college aged you have to be really careful you don’t end up in a college type apartment or you will absolutely hate your life."

The Kalamazoo Mall

Where do you even start with the Kalamazoo Mall? There are many cool shops and some decent bars along the Mall, but adding to the poor night life situation is the fact that these shops close early. Plus with the parking situation downtown it makes it a bit of a hassle to visit those locally owned shops, so honestly it's easier to just find what you need elsewhere. However, a great time to visit the Mall is on the first Friday of the month for Arthop!

Getting Across Town

A chief complaint among locals is the layout of city streets. There are too many one ways downtown and it's not easy to go from one side of town to the other! For example, if I want to get to 131-South from the KFR studios on Gull Road I need to go west before I can go south. That's weird, right? I was also forced to take an extra session of drivers ed. in high school because I got mixed up and turned the wrong way onto a one way in downtown Kalamazoo- I swear, I'm not a bad driver! This city just has a bad layout.

Get Out of Town

Once you do find your way out of the city, locals suggest exploring nearby towns like Schoolcraft, Vicksburg, and Three Rivers. One local says, "There are lots of things to do outside the city area, off in the small towns. Most...have something to offer for a half day trip."

Kenneth_Keifer TSM Lab
Kenneth_Keifer TSM Lab
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We Have Awesome Parks

Thankfully we have plenty of parks and nature preserves in our area. The Kalamazoo Nature Center, the Lillian Anderson Arboretum, and Asylum Lake are among the top favorites that local residents enjoy.

Do you agree with this list? What tips would you give someone considering moving to Kalamazoo?

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